If a family member dies, his or her estate is subject to probate. However, only the assets that are in the name of the deceased are considered. Any property that was owned by the deceased with another person or persons will pass onto the joint survivor or survivors.
Initiating the Probate Process: What Happens First
If you consult with a probate lawyer in Topeka, KS, he or she will begin the probate process by filing a petition for the appointment of either an executor or administrator. An executor is appointed if the deceased leaves a will while an administrator is named if the deceased does not leave a will.
Responsibilities of an Executor or Administrator
If the decedent did leave a will, a probate lawyer must file the document within six months of the date of death. Once he or she is appointed, an executor or administrator must collect and oversee all the estate’s assets. He or she must file the decedent’s final income tax and pay the final expenses.
The executor or administrator is also required to place a public notice in the local newspaper to alert the decedent’s creditors. This is done so that any creditors can file a claim for any monies still due. The notice is filed weekly for three weeks. A creditor must file a claim within four months of the notice’s first publication. If a creditor tries to make a claim after that time, he or she will be denied and barred permanently from making further claims on the estate.
Reviewing the Process
As you can see, seeking assistance from a probate lawyer is beneficial whether you are a beneficiary or named as an executor or administrator. It is important to review all the processes of probate with a legal professional so that you understand your rights.
Who to Contact in the Legal Field
You can find out more about the phases of probate by contacting a legal firm such as Debenham Law Office, LLC. Doing so can help you clear up many of the legal complexities of the probate process.